Roger Federer of Switzerland reacts after winning a third round men's singles match against Julien Benneteau of France at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, England, on June 29, 2012.
LONDON (AFP) - Six-time champion Roger Federer survived a huge scare to reach the Wimbledon last 16 on Friday while defending champion Novak Djokovic avoided another Czech Republic Centre Court ambush.
Federer came within two points of crashing to his worst Wimbledon defeat in 10 years before battling from two sets down to beat French 29th seed Julien Benneteau.
Federer clinched an eighth career fightback from two sets in arrears to win 4-6, 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 7-6 (8/6), 6-1 and will face unseeded Belgian Xavier Malisse for a place in the quarter-finals.
The Swiss star, who won the last of his record 16 Grand Slam titles at the 2010 Australian Open, was staring at his earliest defeat at the All England Club since a shock first round exit to Mario Ancic in 2002.